Welsh products taste fruity success at major food awards

Mario's Red Cherry Sorbet

The Great Taste awards, recognised as the world’s most coveted food and drink awards, have announced their stars of 2020, and a multitude of delicious Welsh food and drink products have been commended with a gold seal of approval.

A remarkable 161 Welsh products ranging from small independent artisan producers to large scale distributors have been deemed worthy of this prestigious award, with 115 products achieving 1-star, 43 receiving 2-stars and 3 earning the ultimate stamp of approval with 3-stars.

Among the Great Taste 3-star winners from Wales are a number of products that put fruity flavours centre stage including;

  • the “beautiful, delicate and vibrantly coloured” Honey Vinegar with Raspberries from Wenallt Hive in Newcastle Emlyn, which took the judges on “a fine flavour journey – fruity and sweet and sour and rich and fun”
  • Mario’s Red Cherry Sorbet from Mario’s Luxury Dairy Ice Cream in Llanelli, described as a “classic sorbet with the fruit singing from the roof tops, calling you back for more”
  • Blighty Booch Kombucha Organic Ginger from Conwy Kombucha, praised for its “delicate fizz that greets your palate, immediately followed by a wonderfully balanced combination of heat from the ginger, astringency from the tea and a delicate fruitiness”, leading one judge to say, “this is a fine example of what a kombucha should be.”

Commenting on the achievement of a 3-star Great Taste award Marion Dunn of Wenallt Hive said,

“We are especially proud of our Honey Vinegar. Taking over 18 months to make using just Welsh honey, Welsh water and our unique vinegar mother, a gentle fermentation creates a subtle vinegar appreciated not just for its taste but also for its natural goodness. It was wonderful to receive recognition in the form of a Great Taste 3-star award for the raspberry vinegar this year.”

Managing Director and owner, Mario Dallavalle of Mario’s Ice Cream commented,

“It is a great achievement to be the only Welsh ice cream producer to have won a 3-star award for 2020. It’s a real testament to the hard work that we have put into producing our products. It means a lot to get a Great Taste award because these are judged by the best chefs, restaurateurs, food critics who have sampled a lot of products and who have a genuine love for quality and taste.”

Overall, the number of Welsh companies receiving a 2020 Great Taste award is greater in comparison to last year proving that, although the challenging climate, the food and drink industry is thriving in Wales.

Congratulating the winning producers, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:

“I am delighted to see so many of our Welsh food and drink producers recognised at the 2020 Great Taste Awards. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the Welsh winners on this fantastic achievement.

”The judges from the Guild of Fine Foods have identified produce of the highest quality from every part of Wales, reflecting the hard work and creativity which is characteristic of our world class food industry.”

Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers, and is described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food said, “The number of Welsh winners at Great Taste this year has been remarkable and reflects the high standards being met by producers across the country.

“As a recognised stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste awards are not only a fantastic achievement, but are also a tangible sign of quality, which can increase sales and open doors. The big haul of awards this year for Welsh food and drink producers shows their ever-increasing commitment to excellence in this competitive industry, so congratulations to everyone who took home stars.”

This year’s winners were chosen through a combination of remote judging and socially distanced judging sessions, as the lockdown began just one week into the schedule. This necessitated a swift and comprehensive reinvention of the Great Taste process to ensure that robust judging standards were maintained and the quality of feedback was not compromised, all in time to provide a much-needed boost for food and drink producers during the all-important Christmas period.

Great Taste values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. All products are removed from their packaging before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.

While the Welsh producers enjoy their success and begin displaying the unmistakable gold and black Great Taste logo, with a 1-, 2- or 3-stars, on their award winning products, they will wait with much anticipation to see if they also scoop the top awards for their region. These final honours, including the Great Taste 2020 Supreme Champion will be announced at the virtual Great Taste Golden Fork awards event, set to take place in October.

Details of this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk and a wide range of award winning products are available to buy in delis, farm shops and independent retail outlets across the country.

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